Netflix has unveiled a first look at Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Crown.”
Season 5, which has started production in the U.K., features Staunton (“Harry Potter”) as the British monarch in the later decades of her life.
She takes over from Olivia Colman, who portrayed the Queen in seasons 3 and 4, and Claire Foy, who played a young, newly crowned Elizabeth in the first and second seasons.
Staunton will be joined by Jonathan Pryce (“Game of Thrones”) as her husband Prince Phillip (who died in April), Lesley Manville (“Phantom Thread”) as her sister Princess Margaret and Elizabeth Debicki (“Tenet”) as Diana, Princess of Wales.
Johnny Lee Miller (“Elementary”) will star as former Prime Minister John Major.
The Left Bank-produced show debuted on Netflix in 2016 with the premise of following the British royal family through the decades, beginning with the death of George VI and the subsequent coronation of his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1952.
Each season of the show has tackled a different decade of the Queen’s life and a new cast has been brought on board every two seasons to portray the characters as they age.
Season 5 will tackle the early 1990s, including, it is thought, the Queen’s so-called “annus horribilis” in 1992, during which three of her four children separated from or divorced their partners — including Prince Charles and Diana — and the family was dogged by numerous scandals, such as the revelation of Charles’s affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles and the publication of Prince Andrew’s wife Sarah Ferguson sunbathing topless with a male friend.
In November of 1992, an enormous fire ripped through Windsor Castle, which cost £36.5 million (equivalent to £62 million today) to fix.
Staunton will stay in the role for the sixth and supposedly final season, which will deal with the early 2000s. While the show’s producers have yet to comment on whether they plan to include scenes of Diana’s death in 1997 following a car crash in Paris, fans have noted the series is unlikely to portray the latest chapter in the royal annals, whether that’s Prince Andrew’s disgrace and demotion following his friendship with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein or Prince Harry’s marriage to Meghan Markle and their subsequent departure from the U.K., dubbed “Megxit.”
Fortunately for fans of the royals, Harry, who has admitted to watching “The Crown,” and Meghan have since struck their own deal with Netflix ensuring there is plenty more blue-blooded content to come.